I look forward with great anticipation to the year 2007 as chairperson of the Great Neck Park District. The past year was both challenging and fulfilling. Under the excellent leadership of Commissioner Bob Lincoln, we moved ahead in our goal to modernize, upgrade and beautify our outstanding park district, and to provide additional recreation and programs for all ages. My thanks as well to Commissioner Ivar Segalowitz for his enthusiastic participation and inventive ideas. The park board is most grateful to Superintendent Neil Marrin and Deputy Superintendent Peter Renick for the many long hours and faithful, caring dedication they give this park district. Our employees continue to show effort and enthusiasm in support of our goals. It is a great honor to work with such an outstanding team.
I am delighted to report that the board has accomplished most of its 2006 objectives. Due to rising utility costs, the park district in 2006 installed a co-generation system at the Parkwood Complex ice rink that is producing electricity through the use of natural gas. The new desiccant system provides dehumidification during cold weather and air conditioning during hot weather. The system allows our residents to comfortably enjoy recreation and entertainment throughout the year.
The restoration and improvement of Great Neck House to its original beauty was celebrated with a grand 2006-2007 centennial to celebrate its history and the contributions of past community leaders. The improvement and repairs of the Steppingstone "waterside estate" were begun and will continue throughout 2007. Residents can look forward to an improved playscape, an adult party room, and a children's party/play room in the newly renovated building. This year our toddlers will continue to enjoy the new wading pool at Steppingstone Park. All of these improvements were made possible by the passage of the improvement bond several years ago. Boating lovers also enjoyed their kayaking at Steppingstone; others participated in our first boat trip on Long Island Sound.
The 2007 budget reflects an ongoing effort to upgrade our parks. Last year, a new playground was installed at Kings Point Park, and new splash pads added to Cutter Mill Park and Jonathan Ielpi Firefighters' Park. We will continue this year by building a new playground at Lakeville Park, and adding splash pads to two additional parks. The replacement of some of the bridges at Kings Point Park will begin this year with the first two to be completed by the end of the year. Discussions will continue with community members on possible improvements of Peninsula Park.
The park district will continue to provide outstanding recreation programming for our residents. High quality performances are planned for the Steppingstone Waterside Theater. Due to high attendance and positive comments, we will continue the family special events at neighborhood parks this summer, as well as the Community Band concerts and outdoor films at the Village Green. Our parties at Parkwood Pool and the Harvest Festival at the Green have become traditional family events. Of course, our indoor cultural center, Great Neck House, will offer new programs, concerts and classes.
The extended hours at the Parkwood ice rink have encouraged many residents to enjoy the sport of skating. Additional events and programs have made this form of recreation more and more popular. When the rink closes, residents can enjoy the pool and the popular recreation program provided by our recreation staff. Children can attend our successful Parkwood Camp that continues to grow, as well as our toddler program at Steppingstone Park. The park district, in conjunction with the Great Neck School District will again offer varsity and junior varsity programs at the Athletic Performance Center. The Parkwood Tennis Center will provide classes for tiny-tots, and, clinics, tournaments and classes for juniors and adults.
The park board spent several years addressing the problem of the aging infrastructure of the Parkwood Complex. After much work and many community meetings, the board voted following a public hearing to renovate and improve the complex. Soon after, the Town of North Hempstead approved the bonding at their public hearing. We are most grateful to the Pool and Rink Advisory Committees who worked so diligently to help us satisfy the varying needs of our residents. Their input was invaluable. This year we will monitor the design and construction of the Parkwood Complex. The changes will meet the needs of today's residents as well as those of the future.
Another major endeavor this year will be the improvement of the Village Green Park. These improvements have been discussed for the past several years. The board has received grant money from the state through the auspices of Senator Balboni and Assemblyman DiNapoli. Funding is available through the budget, as well as through the improvement bond. Additional funding will come via grants as well as through fund raising by the Friends of the Parks, Inc. The first project on the green will commence with the replacement of the electricity and lighting, followed by bricking of the paths. An upgraded Veterans' Memorial, and a new Children's Sensory Garden/ All Abilities Playground will follow.
The park district has come a long way in improving computer technology, making it easier and more efficient to coordinate and unify the business of the park district. This year we hope to have the technology to offer credit card registration for park cards and permits. We will continue to upgrade ordinances, policies and procedures, and improve security coverage.
We look forward to continuing our partnerships with the Great Neck School District, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Town of North Hempstead, Village of Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza and the Great Neck Garden Club. These partnerships have resulted in additional services to our residents and a cooperative community spirit.
The board of the Great Neck Park District considers it an honor to serve our residents. We encourage you to be involved in the process by attending meetings and participating in events and activities. Again, my thanks to my fellow commissioners and to the management and staff of the park district. A very happy, healthy and peaceful new year to all.